Mkini pays RM500,000 fine for contempt of court

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

MKINI Dotcom Sdn Bhd, which runs news portal Malaysiakini, paid the RM500,000 fine imposed by the Federal Court which found the company guilty of contempt of court over the publication of readers’ comments.

Mkini’s lawyer, A Surendra Ananth, when contacted confirmed that the fine has been paid at the court counter yesterday.

He said the company’s CEO Premesh Chandran personally went to the Palace of Justice to pay the fine.

Last Friday, the Federal Court gave Mkini three days from Monday (Feb 22) to settle the fine.

Mkini was fined RM500,000 by a seven-member panel led by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Rohana Yusuf for contempt of court for facilitating the publication of five readers’ comments.

The court, however, found Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan (picture) not guilty of contempt of court.

In the court’s 6-1 majority decision, Justice Rohana said Mkini had full control of what was publishable, so it must carry with it the risks that followed from allowing the way its platform operated.

She said the company had facilitated the publication of the contemptuous comments by third-party subscribers.

The other judges who concurred with the majority decision were Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed; Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim; and Federal Court Judges Datuk Seri Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli.

Federal Court Judge Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan, who dissented, said Mkini and Gan were not liable for contempt because the applicant (attorney general [AG]) failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that they had the requisite knowledge of the existence of the third-party comments and deliberately intended to publish the comments.

On June 17, last year, the Federal Court had allowed the AG’s ex-parte application for leave to commence committal proceedings against Mkini and Gan in relation to readers’ comments on an article published by Malaysiakini on June 9 entitled, “CJ orders all courts to be fully operational from July 1”, which was deemed offensive.

On July 2, last year, Mkini and Gan failed to set aside the leave obtained by the AG to commence committal proceedings against them.

The company had reportedly managed to raise more than RM500,000 through donations from the public.


Read our previous report here

Contempt ruling on news portal eye-opener as free speech, morality collide